Name-Changing Cliffhanger: Bambatha Clan Rejects Prince Buthelezi Municipality Proposal

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SANDILE MOTHA

RELATIVES of the late Chief Bambatha kaMancinza Zondi, leader of the Zondi clan of the Zulu people, says he is the only individual worthy of recognition in the ongoing battle to rename the uMzinyathi District Municipality Council in the KwaZulu Natal far midlands region.

This week, the IFP-led majority in uMzinyathi voted in favour of the proposed municipal change to Prince Buthelezi, the former leader and founder of IFP.

Inside Metros understands that the ANC, NFP and UDM voted against the proposal, but were outvoted by the IFP’s majority.

The proposal will now be subjected to public comments and scrutiny before being given the green light.

However, descendants of Inkosi Bhambatha Zondi say their great grandfather was more deserving of the accolade.

“My great grandfather played a prominent role in emancipating rural people from the shackles of their oppressors. He sacrificed his life for the freedom we cherish today and as such he deserves recognition. He is the only person who is the symbol of resistance in this district,” said Thandanani Shezi, speaking on behalf of the Bambatha clan. 

He said the family was against the proposed name of Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi because he was not born and bred in uMzinyathi.

“We vehemently oppose this move by the municipality. Prince Buthelezi did not play any prominent role in this area and he is not a native of uMzinyathi. We have our own heroes and heroines who deserves the accolade,” added Shezi.  

He said the family would make their objections known during the public consultation process and if they find no joy, they would petition the constitutional court for remedial action.

Bambatha kaMancinza was a warrior and leader of the Zondi clan.

In 1906, he became a symbol of resistance after leading a strong Zulu regiment in protest against poll tax famously referred to as Khanda Mpondo.

Poll tax was a fee levied by the British colonial government to all heads of households in the different traditional authorities in the former KwaZulu homeland.

Bambatha was subsequently hunted down after taking refuge in eNkandla forest and killed by the British colonial forces.

The protest became known as the Bhambatha Rebellion.

The Bambatha descendants are joining other voices opposed to the renaming of the municipality, saying it was costly and instead the money should be used to provide water relief to the drought-stricken communities of uMzinyathi.

The new political formation, Abantu Batho Congress, a defector of the National Freedom Party, said the organization would not support the move.

The organization also joined by the United Democratic Movement who said a name-change was unnecessary.

uMzinyathi mayor Petros Ngubane said the municipality was pushing ahead after an overwhelming majority had agreed on changing the name of the municipality. 

“This is historic and a long overdue process to recognise one of the renowned stalwarts and hero of the people. Prince Buthelezi left an indelible mark internationally we thought as a district he must be honoured for his selfless gesture and his undying legacy,” said Ngubane this week.

Should this proposal go ahead, uMzinyathi will be the third municipality in the province named after a living human being.

In 2016, Himeville and Kwasani Municipalities under Harry Gwala district emerged to form one Municipality named Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, the current minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs.

uMnambithi municipality in the uKhahlamba region was also changed to Alfred Duma Municipality as a recognition to SACP Stalwart Alfred Duma.

(Compiled by Inside Metros staff)

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